Dragon Boat Outing

We had our Betriebsausflug with the workers in the Dean's office and the lab engineers. This is a German tradition whereby everyone in the office has a nice day together - during working hours. It is great for morale and gets people to know each other better so they work better together.

We met at 10 at a remote lake for some dragon boat paddling. The eager biked out, meeting at 8 at a train station. I opted for 10, giving me an hour to grade papers in the morning.

People were a bit shy at first - who would do the drums, who would be the strokers. The chief secretary decided to do the drums, and since there was only one volunteer for the two stroker positions, I stepped up.

Uff - this means, the strokers set the tempo, which is picked up by the drummer and transported by drumbeat to the rest of the boat - we were 18 people, with a local steersman who know how to drive the thing.

It was warm and sunny, and the thing actually moved. We crossed the lake and headed up a river. Since we were in good time, we passed a lock, paddled a bit more, and then headed to the riverside restaurant we had booked tables at.

As we were docking someone spotted a river snake (shudder), but it already had its mouth full - with a goldfish apparently stoled from someone's pond, as there are no goldfish in this river! Someone got a picture, I was glad that as stroker I was first one out.

After lunch we headed back, everyone sitting on the other side so we have sore muscles on both sides. And there was wind, lots of wind. It was a hard paddle, people were tired. The drummer was really into her thing, hollering at people who were slacking (even once - gently - admonishing the vice dean to keep stroking). We practiced grunt chants (klonk, hai, hoch) to keep ourselves going, but it was really rough weather.

But the trip was great - we saw nice flowers, a heron and a kingfischer, lots of dragonflies and tons of mosquitos. And by the end people were having a good time with each other.

We then went for some archery, but that was a bad idea - after 3 hours of paddling, no one could keep their arms up. We shot a few rounds of arrows, packed up and went home.

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